It’s a time of uncertainty.
I’m in the high risk group–over 60 with pre-existing conditions–though I don’t have any cold or flu symptoms. My wife, on the other hand, has had a cold for the past six days, coughing and sneezing. This is likely (hopefully!) the result of our three-year-old grandson coughing repeatedly (despite admonitions to “use your germ jail!” and “cough into your elbow!”) when we were with him a week ago last Monday. She doesn’t have a fever, but sure sounds bad at times.
We’re practicing “social distancing” with lots of books, magazines, and the promise (or threat) of working on our taxes. We took a walk the other day
with two other couples, and decided to meet in front of one of their homes for public safety by not going inside. A good number of neighbors have been taking walks, and we are catching up on news from the safe (we hope) distance of at least six feet.
The British Health Secretary has asked “Britons over 70 to self-isolate for up to four months to reduce their risk of contracting the virus. The government is also expected to ban large gatherings starting next week and to order people over age 70 to remain at home.” (Source: New York Times, March 15.)
The Irish government has ordered all pubs closed as of March 14 at least until the end of the month. The ban included St. Patrick’s Day parades, and the government is even discouraging partying in private homes. You know things are serious in Ireland when the pubs are closed and parties are verboten.
One positive note: the Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com) is suspending its paywall and offering articles to the general public regarding Covid-19. The New York Times is also offering free virus news as well (https://www.nytimes.com/newsletters/coronavirus-briefing). It’s best to get your news from sources like these rather than rely on things you read elsewhere on the Internet. Another good source is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Whole countries are shutting down due to the novel coronavirus. Another casualty that is hard to take (albeit obviously very minor in the grand scheme of this thing): No late-night comedy for the rest of the month, at least. Our nightly ritual for the last couple of years has been late night comedy. A few comedians are broadcasting from their homes. For those who miss comics such as Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Fallon, and Jimmy Kimmel, take a look at Randy Rainbow and Brian Tyler Cohen on YouTube. You’ll get some laughs.
And what is it with people hoarding toilet paper? I’m not seeing anything about diarrhea being one of the symptoms of this illness. Within an hour of Kenya declaring an emergency, stores were filled with shoppers buying out supplies of hand sanitizers and–you guessed it–toilet paper.
Aside from the cancellation of sporting events, classes, and Broadway shows, restaurants and bars across the country have been forced to close or offer limited take-out service at best. Here in Lyons, we have seen concerts and activities canceled or postponed. Meanwhile, many of the service workers in the bars and restaurants are without income. Bills need to be paid, and it remains to be seen whether banks or landlords will be sympathetic to workers.
The federal government is going to be sending checks to adults for $1,000 or more, and additional money for children. The idea is that people will spend the money at local restaurants and other retail businesses to make a recession less likely. In the mean time, ordering meals to go or buying gift certificates to restaurants and local retailers are things that we can do to help our neighbors.
According to the Washington Post, more than 18 million Americans work in industries that are being hurt by the efforts to contain the virus–travel and tourism, spectator sports, museums, hotels, railways, the performing arts, and more. The number is probably even higher than that. A good amount of food coming into the US is imported. What will happen if the virus shows up on docks, infecting workers, truckers, and the people who distribute our food to the grocery stores? Though according to the supermarket industry, stores will have sufficient supplies as long as the panic buying abates.
Some of us are going to be merely inconvenienced by Covid-19, but what about those experiencing homelessness in this country? Tom Hanks and the president can get tested pretty quickly, but the other vulnerable populations such as the over-60 crowd and those with chronic health conditions? Not so much, at least not so far.
The Lyons Recorder is committed to presenting accurate and timely information to the community. We want to encourage readers to send in articles on how you are coping with the restrictions of having no school, working from home, being laid off from your job, preventing cabin fever, and the like.
We went through the trauma of the flood and pulled together as a community. Volunteers are helping with Meals on Wheels, and others have offered to do grocery store or drugstore runs. These are the things that continue to make Lyons a special place.
More to follow, as we are now in uncharted waters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.